Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Speeding at over 17,300 mph, the space shuttle Discovery undocked from the massive international space station this afternoon following eight days of docked operations to resupply earth's only outpost in space.
Discovery separated from the station at 3:26:28 pm EDT, as she slowly moved forward in the direction of the two craft's direction of travel. The orbital duo was flying 223 miles over western China near the Mongolian boarder at the time of separation.
Discovery docked with the space station on August 30 -- the 25th anniversary of her first launch -- and was docked with the space station for a total time of eight days, 19 hours and 32 minutes.
At 3:42 pm, Discovery was 210 feet out in front of the space station, as she separated at a rate of .26 feet per second.
Mission commander Rick Sturckow exclaimed to mission control at 3:51 pm, "We've got a beautiful view of the international space station!"